There are few fighters currently competing in the UFC middleweight ranks with as much momentum as Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza.
The "Alligator" has been a force of nature since coming over from Strikeforce in 2013 and has made an immediate impact on the upper tier of the 185-pound weight class. The Brazilian grappling ace has risen to the forefront of a highly competitive division on the strength of a six-fight winning streak and an impressive stretch where he's found success in 10 of his last 11 showings.
While Souza has been recognized as one of the sport's top middleweights for the past few years, the path of destruction he's carved recently inside of the Octagon has the 34-year-old within striking distance of a title shot.
That said, the former Strikeforce champion is looking for the quickest possible route to a championship opportunity, and he has a plan in mind to get there.
On Wednesday night's episode of UFC Tonight, Ariel Helwani reported Souza would like to face the winner of the upcoming title fight between champion Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida who square off at UFC 175 in July.
If that option is not available to him, the multi-time jiu-jitsu world champion wants to be paired up with former title challenger Vitor Belfort for his next matchup. "The Phenom" is a staple in the upper tier of the division, and Souza believes a fight with the former No. 1 contender could catapult him into title contention.
Whatever road the UFC decides to travel, Helwani stressed in his report that Souza wants to get back to work as soon as possible. His most recent outing came back in February, when he earned a unanimous-decision victory over Francis Carmont in Brazil.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.